There has been significant feedback into Napo HQ and through members of the Probation Negotiating Committee (PNC) who met last week, about the shoddy and disrespectful response to the union’s claims on 2017-18 pay and longer-term probation pay reform. Indeed, I understand that a number of members have written directly to Michael Spurr to tell him in no uncertain terms just how unhappy they are not only with his of excuses, but its underlying sanctimonious tone.

That we are now in a situation where a number of Community Rehabilitation Companies are actually paying (or offering to pay) salaries higher than the NPS, (despite their own well-documented failings), is not something I would have bet on a few months ago, but it’s a strange world of course. Nevertheless, it would be unwise to think that this heralds some type of counter-revolution as many more CRC’s have still not made a pay award for 2017-18 and are prevaricating over their longer-term pay reform agendas.

The farce that we encountered in what passed as pay talks with the NPS hierarchy has been seen by many of those members who have shared their thoughts with us as the ‘thin edge of the wedge’, with many saying that it’s time to get out on the  barricades or at least work to rule.

That mood wont have been helped by the statement issued on the NPS Intranet this afternoon together with the ‘Questions and no Answers’ which accompanied it. Talk about digging deeper when one is already in a hole.

This is not just an issue for NPS members

All of this and much more, was the focus for an in depth discussion at the PNC about how Napo and UNISON, (who we are meeting urgently this week) should respond. On Wednesday, the Officers and Officials Group will also be considering that debate, as well as looking at some recommendations that your pay negotiators are currently working on.

I remember making it very clear when I addressed conference last September of my serious doubts that a decent pay rise would arrive unless our members indicated that they were prepared to take industrial action if needs be. The two motions carried at AGM made it clear that the position on 2017-18 Pay and longer-term pay reform had to improve and quickly. It was also resolved that Napo would consult with members with a view to industrial action if necessary. The situation we are in entirely sits with those scenarios

But the expressions of anger that I have been copied into suggest that it’s time for all members, and not just those in the NPS to take a deep breath and realise that wherever you work you face a number of common problems Be it on pay, workloads and health and safety, while you try to shore up a fractured profession and maintain community safety whilst giving lots of goodwill.  

Telling us what you are prepared to do 

I intend to report in more detail after this week’s deliberations with colleagues, but it seems very clear to me that members are expecting their union to take a stand over the above issues. No problem with that from my end but, as I have said many times before, our members must decide on where we go next and their willingness to make the employer and this government think again. We will be in touch with you about this very soon.

Napo well represented at the Union Building Conference

Although I was not able to attend the whole event on this occasion, I hear that yet another highly successful General Federation of Trade Union conference took place this weekend at the Yarnfield centre.

Ranjit Singh, Katie Lomas, Yvonne Pattison and Dean Rogers represented Napo. I hear that they all played a leading part in the discussions with sister unions in the vital areas of building membership density, exploring opportunities for greater collaboration between affiliates and how Trade Union Education can help to create opportunities for training for activists and ‘would be’ activists. These are all important facets of Napo’s own ‘Strategy for Growth’, and I would like to thank Doug Nicholls and his team for organising such an excellent event and for their material support to Napo.

The conference also attracted support in the form of Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell and here is a link to the GFTU website for the very welcome speech by John about the importance of the GFTU and its work: and here for MP4 aficionados’:

GFTU Youth Festival

This looks like it will be an interesting event for younger trade union members. It will take place at the superb Quorn Grange Hotel 20-22 April 2018 and the weekend is full of workshops and activities to give young members a running start into the movement alongside a network of activists wanting to make a difference. To avoid any silly debates about what constitutes ‘young’ in Napo terms, the practice followed by GFTU affiliates is that members follow their own union’s defined policy. If my memory serves me correctly ours was (and still is) applicable to those up to 35 years young. Doug Nicolls might even allow some stretching of the boundaries on that one?

GFTU Youth Festival 2018

More news on a range of issues later this week



Blog type: 
General Secretary's Blog